Residential school survivor Eddy Charlie and friend Kristin Spray initiated Victoria Orange Shirt Day in 2015 while attending the Indigenous Studies program at Camosun College. After graduating in 2017 they continued to recognized the sacrifices of residential school survivors by bringing the event to the City of Victoria.
A proclamation was presented on September 30, 2018 from the Province of British Columbia, to honor and remember residential school survivors and their families.
Eddy Charlie is a member of Cowichan Nation, a former student at Kuper Island Residential School, and a graduate of Indigenous Studies at Camosun College.
Although there was fear and sadness in launching Orange Shirt Day in Victoria, Eddy felt that someone had to make the journey for others to see that healing could come through sharing and caring. Eddy feels that the start of healing can only come when we begin to acknowledge that the path we are walking is hurting our Nations.
“I want to release what is inside of me. All that fear. All that anger. All that pain. And I want all of Canada to know why we are the way we are today.”
In 2013, Victoria resident Kristin Spray attended the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Vancouver, where she was deeply affected by witnessing families share their residential school experiences.
This motivated Kristin to enroll in the Indigenous Studies program at Camosun College. It was while in the program, Eddy and Kristin met and became friends. Together they have worked to raise awareness about residential schools and to honour survivors and their families.
One of their proudest achievements is bringing Orange Shirt Day to Camosun College and now to the City of Victoria.
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Help support Victoria Orange Shirt Day. Proceeds of the sales of our products go towards helping us to continue to create awareness of the effects of Residential Schools.